- October 30, 2012
Samsel: the election is over
Theoretically, everything should be clear, but it is not. After the run-off, three parties should create a ruling coalition: social-democrats, the Labour Party and Order and Justice, having 79 votes in a Seym consisting of 140 members.
That was their deal. As it is known, one seat will be appointed in the coming spring, because the election result in Zarasai-Visaginas constituency was cancelled. It is already quite dangerous majority, so one should not think about searching for another partner for the coalition. It always means more compromises in the field of political programs, and with three parties forming the coalition, there is no point of looking for one more.
A fourth party is not needed, and compromises will be great nevertheless, for each of the three parties. Not mentioning the division of posts. The situation was turned upside down by the attitude of President Grybauskaite. She does not want the Labour Party in the government and that’s it. Then, one should heed a serious possibility of a presidential veto against the proposed government. It is a considerable complication that may even cause a repetition of the election. The winners, social-democrats, have a few possibilities. They can seek for a broad coalition, just without the conservatists and with the Labour Party, so that they could override the possible presidential veto. It lowers down the effectiveness of the future government significantly. And means compromises going so far that they would actually mean blurring programs of all parties that would enter the coalition. AWLP’s chances to belong to the government rise with this option, though.
Another choice for the social-democrats is to get pushed into quite exotic coalition with the conservative party. It would be risky for them, though, because, after all, they won the election on the basis of being an opposition to conservatists. So what is left? A minority government. Probably the worst option. Or maybe giving up the task of creating the government and letting Grybauskaite worrying about whom she should ascribe that mission to. And then she will probably give it to conservatists and the counting of votes will begin again. In the end, we do not know much today, though the election is over.
Concerning AWLP, its chances to enter the ruling coalition for the present do not depend only on the party but also on how the situation will be changing.
How to assess AWLP’s electoral results, then? On one hand it is, undoubtedly, a success. Eight seats, with only three in the previous election— it is a success. For the first time AWLP has crossed the 5% of votes — the electoral threshold. But the optimistic predictions about several seats turned out to be unreal. Entering the ruling coalition and having a few ministries for now seem obscure. Which can lead to a problem in four years, in case of a failure in entering the coalition. Because a party from an opposition has slight chance for realising its promises. In this election the potential AWLP’s electorate mustered its energy and will. Therefore, it has the right to expect some profits. If there are no profits, in four years’ time it will be harder to muster the will to vote for AWLP. Especially that it will be rather difficult to count for the “help” of a winner party, which conservatists were giving by their policy towards national minorities. The policy almost for sure (with creating the government around social-democrats!) will be toned down. Obviously, the road to an ideal situation on that matter is far, but at least new conflicts will not be initiated, which was not so with the previous government.
Who actually voted for AWLP needs a separate analysis. It will answer the question whether the re-electoral actions of the party had some effects. It would seem that the answer is obvious—yes, they did have some effects. In my opinion, though, it is not so obvious in every dimension. Changing the rhetoric by toning it down could help. Shifting focus to national and economic matters and putting less emphasis on the minorities’ problems is disputable. It looks like mainly Poles and Russians voted for AWLP. Therefore, the party failed at gaining more support from Lithuanians, in the scale of the whole country. The results of the run-off point to that. AWLP is still unacceptable for even more or less liberal Lithuanian voter. But the victory of Tamašunienė who, as an opponent of the Labour Party’s candidate, gained some Lithuanian votes as an exception, may mean some good perspectives for the future.
Despite this local victory it is difficult to say something about a significant success in gaining Lithuanian support. It is a result of many years of completely different relation of the party towards the Lithuanian society. It is difficult to be changed in just a few months. Especially when the change is promoted by the same people and faces. A change of leaders (it is not about Tomaszewski alone) does not seem to be coming. How could it come? After all, those who are chosen for MPs, are chosen. Will the party continue the course— it is, for now, difficult to find an answer to this question. The risk if high, costs and necessary actions are significant and the effect is not certain.
Continuing the alliance with the Russian Alliance seems to be certain, on the other hand. To ground it firmly, it is necessary to guarantee Irina Rozowa— its leader— a seat in the Seym. Someone already chosen will have to give his or her place up. In my opinion it will be Jedziński. Waldemar Tomaszewski will stay in the European parliament, so Jedziński will get to the Lithuanian Seym. But he will resign for Rozowa. It will be so for a few reasons. Zbigniew Jedziński is the vice-chairman of AWLP. Although it would seem logical for him to be in the Seym, this very fact may act against him. A leader does not have to help his second-in-command to strengthen his position. Every leader tries to have such a second-in-command that will not become his successor. And Jedziński himself has not shown particular willingness to stand in the first line in the media.
These places have been occupied by Tomaszewski, MPs, maybe Ms Rekść, and some town councils. Jedziński’s name has appeared sporadically. Besides, he has a good post outside of the Seym and, after all, he did not enter the Seym by his own. So I vote for Jedziński’s resignation. This situation will happen if AWLP does not enter the ruling coalition. If it does, then Tomaszewski will want to be on the spot and he will not resign. Mincewicz will take his seat in the European parliament. In the Seym, someone else will have to resign. I think that then it will be Wanda Krawczonok but it can possible be Kwiatkowski or Mackiewicz. Ms Krawczonok has little parliamentary experience and she is really needed in Vilnius self-government, where she has been managing the Press Office of AWLP. The other two have their organizations (an educational organisation “Macierz Szkolna” and the Association of Poles in Lithuania) and they have things to do anyway. The case is open, though, and everyone can be chosen. Jedziński will take the place of the one who resigns, and then he will give his seat to Rozowa.
And AWLP has serious tasks waiting for it. It must “hunt for” a chance to enter the coalition with as many profits as possible. Or, if it sees the proposals as unprofitable, it has to remain in the opposition. Then, the party will have to place itself in the opposition in such a way that it will be able to have some profits, too. How to avoid losing the support it gained in the election, while being in the opposition? It is not an easy task, but surely it is an exam testing real political abilities of the winning MPs. I have the impression that in the present Seym AWLP (if it ends up in opposition) will raise matters of worldview (abortion), seeking for a niche for itself as an oppositional party.
Anyway, the party’s fight for real influence on national matters is still in progress. Let’s admit that it is becoming more and more interesting and, actually, every option is possible. It is a pity that, although absorbing, it is not the most important challenge that Lithuania is facing. Unemployment, emigration, bad state of the economy etc. Those will be, for now, pushed away because first there questions like “who, with whom, and for how many…” must be answered first.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.